Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C.

Copyright & Trademark

Copyright is a form of protection afforded by the laws of the United States for original works of authorship, such as literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural and audiovisual creations. The term “copyright” literally means the right to copy, and has come to mean a body of exclusive rights granted to authors for protection of their work. Copyright does not protect ideas, phrases or names; copyright does protect the tangible medium of expression of those ideas, as long as there is sufficient original authorship.

Copyright law is a federal claim, and actions to protect the rights are brought exclusively in federal court. These cases can be complex. We excel at all types of copyright matters, including:

  • Copyright registration with the U.S. Register of Copyrights
  • Defending and prosecuting copyright infringement cases
  • Issuing and defending copyright infringement cease-and-desist letters

A trademark is the name or other symbol used to identify the source of goods to distinguish them from products associated with competing manufacturers or dealers. Trademarks can be registered in the State of Tennessee and can also be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are varying reasons for the use of either or both these registrations.

Trademarks are also subject to common law protection and the improper use of the mark can subject the adverse party to various claims, including unfair competition. This area of law is becoming increasingly complex. In fact, the United States Patent and Trademark Office advises:

While you are not required to have an attorney, an attorney may save you from future costly legal problems: In addition, trademark lawyers can help you during the application process with several things that could seriously impact your trademark rights, such as determining the best way to describe your goods and services and preparing responses to refusals to register that an examining attorney may issue. Finally, a private attorney can also assist in the policing and enforcement of your trademark rights. The USPTO only registers trademarks. You as the trademark owner are responsible for any enforcement. With the increasing growth of and dependence on the Internet, the laws and interpretation of precedent and statute governing copyright and trademark is rapidly developing. The “rules” are changing to accommodate new technology, and cyberspace is the new frontier that is dramatically changing the contours of this area of the law.

We have the experience needed to help clients navigate the registration process, as well as to then either protect from use or to license use of their trademarks. We also have experience in the defense and prosecution of trademark infringement cases.